Progress on “The Holy Spirit: An Apostolic Perspective on Pneumatology”

Last week, I finished my research and writing on the Old Testament portion of what I hope will be a new book on biblical pneumatology published by Word Aflame Press. Today, I began work on the New Testament.

As we move into the New Testament, we must assess the approach we will take in our study of the Holy Spirit as it relates to what we have seen in our examination of the Old Testament. The first thing we notice is that there are many more references to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Whereas there are but three times the term “Holy Spirit” is found in the Old Testament, there are nearly ninety in the New Testament. Even then, this is not the most common referent. The simple term “the Spirit” appears nearly 130 times in the New Testament. The phrase “the Spirit of God” is used eleven times and “the Spirit of the Lord” five times. “His Spirit” is used four times, “My Spirit” three, and “Spirit,” in reference to God, once. There are, therefore, about 240 times the New Testament refers to the Spirit. Since there are 260 chapters in the New Testament, the Spirit is referred to, on average, almost once per chapter.

I spent most of my time today looking at every Old Testament reference to the Spirit that is quoted, paraphrased, or alluded to in the New Testament. The New Testament is not, by any means, limited to these references in its interest in the Holy Spirit. Its concern with the Spirit includes, of course, the great phenomenon of Pentecost, where all who waited in an upper room, men and women, were baptized with the Holy Spirit, speaking in languages they had never learned. This was biblically unprecedented, although prophetically anticipated, by Joel, John the Baptist, and Jesus.

The mysterious, miraculous work of the Spirit includes the Incarnation, wherein God Himself was manifest in full, authentic human existence by means of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the virgin Mary, causing her to conceive and give birth to Jesus, God with us. While He was fully God, Jesus was also fully human, filled, empowered, and led by the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14). To work out the ramifications of this will, of course, require considerable effort, time, and space in the book.

We will need to discuss other major New Testament insights on the Holy Spirit, including, but not limited to, the role of the Spirit in regeneration, the fruit of the Spirit, what it means for believers to be led by the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, the use of terms like “the Spirit of His Son,” “the Spirit of Christ,” and Jesus’ warning about blasphemy against the Spirit.

I would deeply appreciate your prayers if you are led by the Spirit to pray for me as I continue working on this project.[archive]